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Archive for March, 2006

Things you can infer from one dialog box

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

It is harder for a big company to produce decent software than a small company, as illustrated by this ugly little dialog box: Why do big companies have trouble making decent software? 1) They have too many employees. I believe that design and coding should be done by very small teams, and that the same […]

Mob Brown

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

According to a recent post in the Flickr Blog the ‘favorite’ color of the Flickr community is a warm brownish taupe. The blog points to a nifty application, favcol which computes the average color of all the images on Flickr recently tagged ‘favcol’. In actuality, that brownish taupe color is what you tend to get […]

Partipatory Music at Machine Project

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

from Machine Project, my favorite art gallery for geeks here in Los Angeles. Hands On’Semble Episode Four of Everybody Loves Difficult Music, a music and discussion series Thursday March 23rd 8:00pm Please join virtuoso hand percussion group Hands On’Semble as they play original compositions that blend the rhythmic concepts and playing techniques of North and […]


Monday, March 20th, 2006

I’ve been a little obsessed with cuckoo clocks for the past few weeks, and here are a few cuckoo-related oddments. A friend of mine gave me an unwanted cuckoo clock, and I repaired it and hung it on a wall at home. Every time the cuckoo chime goes off, it makes me giggle. Sadly, most […]


Sunday, March 12th, 2006

I have a peculiar problem with telephones. When ever I pick up a ringing phone, and say “hello,” there is invariably a long pause, and then the other person says, tentatively, “Hello? Is this Jim?.” It turns out that many people assume that they are listening to a recording when I answer the phone. I […]

Curse of the giant thumbs

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

I guess you know your blog has arrived when people start offering you free stuff. Sprint contacted me a week ago to tell me that they wanted to give me 6 months free service and a free phone. This is part of Sprint’s “Ambassador” program, in which they are giving phones to bloggers. I assume […]

Customer Service Scripts & The Jungle Cruise

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

Lately, I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of customer interaction scripts, you know, those little bits of canned dialog that people who represent large companies are required to say to you. I contacted my cable broadband provider on Thursday night because my internet connection, which has been increasing flaky the last few […]

Kircherian Coverpop

Saturday, March 4th, 2006

The Jesuit Polymath Athanasius Kircher is a personal hero of mine. I constructed this Kircherian coverpop, which contains a collection of images from his books, which covered such varied subjects as geology, magnetism, architecture, music, egypt, and china. Stanford University Library’s Department of Special Collections has graciously granted me permission to use these images. The […]

Freshly Opened Play-doh

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

Yesterday I did a lecture for the USC chapter of SIGGRAPH entitled “Interactive Art & Toys,” in which I demonstrated how to build a Karl Marx Paddleball toy in Flash. As a gift, chapter president Pamela Fox presented me with this really cool book: Timeless Toys : Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them […]

Programmers are Lazy, Part 1

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

This blog is intended to be lighthearted and fun, and it is not normally my policy to fill it with angst and invective. But sometimes a guy has to rant. Today’s rant is directed at lazy programmers. We know who we are. Computers are labor saving devices, so it is natural that the programming field […]